Arctic Tern Chicks Fall Victim to Careless Drivers

Dozens of Arctic tern chicks have been killed in recent weeks by traffic around the village of Rif on the northern side the Snæfellsnes peninsula, RÚV reports. The speed limit in the area has been lowered and there’s plenty of signage clearly marking nesting grounds, but these measures seem not to have prevented a number of casualties among newly hatched chicks.

Guðjón H. Björnsson, foreman of the Icelandic Road and Costal Administration in nearby Ólafsvík, says that the area is being closely monitored and that an additional speed limit reduction is under consideration.

“We permanently lowered the speed limit to 70 km/hr [43 mi/hr] last year,” he explained, “but we’re considering lowering it even more, down to 50 km/hr [31 mi/hr] in certain sections.”

“It’s different from day to day—some days, we’re cleaning up 20 chicks [from the roadway] over there. Other days, none,” said Guðjón, reiterating that the area is well-marked, but drivers are clearly not being careful enough.

Live Feed of Blackbird Nest Delights Bird Lovers

svartþrastarhreiður blackbird nest

Bird lovers around the world can now tune into a live feed of a blackbird nest in Iceland where one hardworking parent is incubating three eggs. The eggs are expected to hatch in the coming days. The feed is provided by RÚV television program Landinn.

Called a svartþröstur in Icelandic, the Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula) was first recorded breeding in Iceland in 1969. There are now over 2,000 blackbird pairs in the country, mostly nesting and wintering in Southwest Iceland but also in other regions.

The Eurasian blackbird mostly nests in trees where it builds a neat, cup-shaped nest. Its light-blue eggs are about the size of a 10-króna coin, measuring around 2.7cm (1in) across. The birds most often lay 3-5 eggs, which they incubate for 13-15 days before they hatch. The species is monogamous, and an established pair will usually stay together as long as they survive.

Migratory birds return to nest and guests arrive

Spring is the ideal season for birdwatching in Iceland, as migratory birds are returning to the country from their wintering grounds to nest. It is also the best season to spot birds that are only occasional visitors, such as the glossy ibis below. The species was spotted on May 2 for only the 9th time ever in Iceland.